Last week a celebrity personality posted on her very public, very large social media platform that she will be having a home birth with a midwife, raising her child as a vegan… and will not be vaccinating. That personality is the heavily pregnant Kat Von D.
I was totally with her (not necessarily agreeing, but with her none the less) until that last part.
Now I never normally comment on any kind of parenting or parenting decision. Why? Because we are childless by choice. So, none of my business. Look, even if I was a parent… other peoples decisions, still… none of my business.
But in this case… yeah, your decisions and your way of broadcasting them… totally my business.
If you’ve read more than one post of mine you will probably know that I’m immuno-modified. Why do I say “modified” instead of “suppressed” now days? I still have “some” immune system – just not a great one. I get sick a lot and it can get very very bad. My experience is that I most often get sick from children. It’s why I was always really disappointed when sick kids could be brought into my old workplace – nine times out of ten, I would get sick from the ill child – putting a strain on my already taxed body.
So why am I putting my nose in someones business that lives on the other side of the world? Because spreading the message that vaccination is JUST about your child is dangerous and selfish.
Before I launch into why I think this way, it’s important to define herd immunity:
the resistance to the spread of a contagious disease within a population that results if a sufficiently high proportion of individuals are immune to the disease, especially through vaccination.
The argument often raised when an anti-vaxxer is met with criticism is “if you and your child are immunised according to your own beliefs then you have nothing to worry about”. This is a valid however extremely uneducated line of reply.
Yes kiddo, I’m calling you uneducated.
Why is something that sounds totally plausible “uneducated”? Not everyone is immunised for the same thing… at the same time… for a variety of reasons.
There are certain people who cannot be vaccinated or who vaccinations are not as effective in.
I want to bring your attention first to the immunisation schedule most parents are given for their child. At a certain age – they have a certain immunisation. Before this immunisation is issued – they depend purely on the immunity of the herd to protect them. If nine out of the ten people they have close contact with has had the immunisation – chances are they will be protected until it’s their turn. By vaccinating yourself and your child you protect those too young to be immunised – and funny enough the ones who would be impacted the worst by catching the disease. Cool? So by vaccinating yourself and your kid, you’re protecting other peoples young children.
As we age – our immune systems become weaker. So contracting a preventable illness becomes more detrimental and also the vaccination to prevent it is less effective. Right. So by vaccinating yourself and your child you are actually helping to protect the ageing population – people like your parents and grand-parents.
I am not going to mince words – you are putting a foreign substance into your body when you immunise – as well as some well known packing ingredients. That means there is always going to be people that have an allergic reaction. These people cannot tolerate the vaccination – so they also depend on the rest of the herd.
Then there are those of us, in what looks like the prime of our life, that are taking an immuno-suppresive protocol OR have a immuno-destructive chronic illness.
I’m fairly sure we all know there are a few illnesses that directly effect the immune system – like AIDS. The most likely cause of death in someone with AIDS was a preventable, secondary illness or infection. But what do I mean be immuno-suppressive protocol? My knowledge here is limited – so I’m going to stick with the facts I know even though in this case they are not all encompassing.
There are a few main categories that I’m familiar with a) transplant patients: anti-rejection drugs are at their core immuno-suppresants b) cancer patients: it seems totally counter-productive but most cancer treatments have a pretty negative impact on the immune system – in fact there are quite a large percentage of deaths chalked up to preventable illness and secondary infection contracted due to treatment c) auto-immune diseases: many of the common treatments for auto-immune include suppressing the immune system (duh).
I think everyone has heard of “auto-immune” but no one really understands how widespread it is. Obviously, if I’m writing this Crohn’s and Colitis are related to immune system… So – we can’t get every vaccination – those with live virus (an ever decreasing number now days) for example. Some others will clash with our protocol even though they contain no live virus. Even the ones we can get may be less effective. Now – put that together with the shitty immune system….
When we hang around your unvaccinated kid and pick a preventable disease up – we end up getting it much worse that the kid who caused the problem in the first place.
I know the little red-faced anti-vaxxers who read this are foaming at the mouth right now and wanting to comment about cell shedding or some other hokum. And at this point – I’m speaking generally – so they’re within their rights.
Let me turn this around.
In 2015 I had the separated Whooping Cough booster – which contains no live vaccine. I had the separated version because the regular booster had tetanus in there as well – which I’m allergic to. I did this to help to protect my friends young daughter.
Fast forward 8-months. We’re now in 2016… I don’t feel well… it goes on for two weeks… I develop this raspy cough… I cough and I cough in these “fits”… I cough so much that I bruise my ribs… I had no idea until I was admitted to hospital short stay that I had contracted Whooping Cough from an unvaccinated minor. I know this because unfortunately it was a friends child. She later, quite proudly may I add, told me that they were against vaccination and they child did in fact have Whooping Cough when we met by at a shopping centre. I told this person how sick it made me which was when she coincidently made the confession it was most likely from her kid … and she just shrugged and said that I would get “immunity the real way”. You know, like they did back in the good old days of the dark ages when life expectancy was mid-forties.
I coughed and coughed and coughed so much I was physically sick over and over again… I had to go back to work the week after still really unwell… it lasted for months… I lingered and reared it’s head at embarrassing times… it put a complete stop to my fitness and muscle building regime…
Even with the booster – my immune system was so shitty, I still contracted the disease.
Coincidently – we are no longer friends – and while I don’t put out a checkbox application, I would probably choose not to become friends with someone who was vocal about being against herd immunity and the benefits.
This really life example was wrong on so many levels… I needed to stay overnight in hospital and then elected with the blessing of the medical team to go home so my admission wasn’t recorded. But I was there long enough to have the whooping Cough test run and to be placed on some slightly stronger pain relief for my ribs. I needed the entire next week off work which I could only just cover. I had elected to be part of the herd – I was protecting myself and others… but because of my underlying condition and treatment I still contracted the preventable disease from a child I was exposed to unknowingly and unwillingly.
If I had of been around someone who didn’t have the immunisation – I could have passed it on further. I could have made someone else sick even though I took every precaution.
At the start of 2017… I was sick with what I thought was the flu… I went to my GP who didn’t think so – so he tested me for Whooping Cough again… I thought it was ridiculous because: a) I’d had the booster b) I’d had the illness c) it wasn’t as bad as my bout in 2016… sure enough though, I had contracted Whooping Cough a second time… on this occasion we could not pinpoint the source..
So, my little red faced anti-vaxxers. This really happened… and it happened to me… TWICE. Even after every precaution… even after trying to protect myself…
Yes, your decision not to vaccinate is somewhat a personal choice… but I hope you can see it’s about much more than putting “chemicals” into you and your child’s body… or about making vegan choices… it’s about the overall health of the community. It’s about protecting the people who are venerable for one reason or another.
Not vaccinating (of course, when there isn’t a medical reason precluding you) is so incredibly selfish. Perhaps more selfish is seeing it as a personal decision that only effects one person….